Blair Castle is located in the village of Blair Atholl in Perthshire, Scotland. The castle is strategically located in the Strath of Garry, making it the gatekeeper to the Grampians, and the most direct route to Inverness. John I Comyn, Lord of Badenoch, owned Blair Castle. While Lord Badenoch was fighting in the Crusades, his northern neighbor David I Strathbogie, Earl of Atholl built upon Badenoch’s land. Upon his return, Badenoch won back his land and incorporated the new tower into his own castle. Although the castle was built in the 13th century, the majority of construction was done during the 15th century. The castle was under siege twice, once by Cromwell’s army in 1652 and again in 1746 by the Jacobites. Apartments were added in the mid-18th century. The clock tower was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1814. In 1870’s, the castle was remodeled in the Scots Baronial style, and a ballroom was added. A new ballroom wing was added during further remodeling in 1885. There is a Grand Fir tree on the property, which is considered the second-tallest tree in Great Britain. The castle is open to the public.
Castle de Haar is located in the province of Utrecht in the Netherlands. The current buildings were built upon the original castle, which dates back to 1391. The castle was given by Hendrik van Woerden as fiefdom to the De Haar family. The De Haar’s remained in possession of the castle and lands until 1440, when the last male De Haar family member died without heirs. The castle passed to the Van Zuylen family, and suffered through a fire in 1482. The remaining structure that still held military use was incorporated into the new castle in the early 16th century. The castle fell into ruins when Johan van Zuylen died without children, and was eventually bequeathed to a cousin. Etienne van Zuylen, husband of Helene de Rothschild, of the Rothschild family, inherited the castle ruins. Financed by the Rothschild’s, they set about fully restoring and modernizing the castle with the help of famous architect Pierre Cuypers. Cuypers worked on the project for twenty years. The castle has 200 rooms and 30 bathrooms. The castle is open to the public.
Lismore Castle is located in the town of Lismore, in the County of Waterford in Ireland. The castle sits on the site that was occupied by Lismore Abbey, which was established in the early 7th century. Lismore Castle was originally built in 1185 by Prince John and is situated high above the Blackwater River. When the prince became king, he gave the fortress to the church and it was used as a Bishop’s Palace. The castle was leased and later purchased by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1589 and he sold it to Richard Boyle, the first Earl of Cork in 1602. Cork transformed the simple keep into a magnificent residence, which included castellated outer walls, a gatehouse, and additional apartments. Lismore Castle passed to the Fourth Duke of Devonshire in 1753. The Sixth Duke of Devonshire was responsible for the castle’s current appearance. In the 19th century, the duke hired architect William Atkinson to rebuild the fortress in the Gothic style, using cut stone from Derbyshire. Nearly 30 years later the duke hired architect Sir Joseph Paxton to carry out additional improvements. Lismore Castle is considered a luxury destination that is open to guests and available for exclusive hire.
Powis Castle is a medieval castle located in Powys, Wales. Powis castle was the fortress of a dynasty of Welsh princes in Mid-Wales. The castle was built by Welsh prince Gruffudd ap Gwenwynwyn in 1252 AD. He wished to establish his independence from the North Wales princes, who were traditional enemies. Powis Castle was built by the Welsh, unlike many of the castles in Northern Wales, which were built by the English. Gruffudd was forced into exile in 1274 and the castle was destroyed. Within three years, Gruffudd returned and rebuilt Powis Castle. With no male heir, the castle and lordship passed to an heiress, Hawise, who married Sir John Charlton from Shropshire. Descendants of Charlton held the castle for over 100 years. Again, due to the lack of a male heir, the castle passed to two daughters. In 1578, Sir Edward Herbert leased the castle and eventually purchased it in 1587. In 1644, Powis Castle was captured by Parliamentary Troops and not returned to the family until the restoration of King Charles II. The fortress is known for its remarkable State Bedroom, extensive gardens, deer park, and beauty. The castle is under the ownership of the National Trust.